Mission Statement

The mission of the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology is to prepare counseling psychologists who are trained in evidence-based psychological services and research methods, are sensitive to individual, social, and cultural differences, are advocates for mental health and personal growth throughout the lifespan, and are competent to practice in healthcare systems and in academia.

Scientist-Practitioner Model of Training

The doctoral program in Counseling Psychology at the University of Central Arkansas provides graduate education in the scientific practice of psychology and in counseling psychology as a professional specialization. The program of study is grounded in the scientist‑practitioner model for training psychologists that stresses training in both research methods and professional practice. This model affirms the idea that practice and research should reciprocally influence and strengthen one another and are thus complementary components of graduate psychology education. The role of scientist-practitioner is to be (1) a consumer and practitioner of evidence-based clinical practices, (2) an evaluator of professional actions and, (3) a researcher who produces new data and who reports these findings to the professional community. The scientist-practitioner model was developed at the Boulder Conference on clinical psychology in 1949 and subsequently accepted in 1954 by the Society of Counseling Psychology (Division 17) of the American Psychological Association (APA).

Need for Psychologists

The need for quality counseling psychological services has been strongly felt throughout the state of Arkansas, the United States, and beyond. The doctoral emphasis in counseling psychology responds to this need in a pragmatic manner by preparing graduates to competently perform a variety of counseling psychology functions.


The philosophy of the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology is operationalized through the following specific values. In turn, it is hoped that graduates will adopt and incorporate these values. The Counseling Psychology Emphasis values:

  1. Respect for each person.
  2. A community of individuals.
  3. Strength in diversity.
  4. Service to others.
  5. A science-practitioner foundation.
  6. Giving back to the profession.
  7. Giving back to the community.

APA Accreditation

The doctoral program in Counseling Psychology began in 2008 and is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).

  • Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation
    • Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
    • American Psychological Association
    • 750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
    • Phone: (202) 336-5979 / Email: apaaccred@apa.org
    • Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

Admissions Requirements

All applicants for the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology must meet the general requirements of the Graduate School and specific requirements of the doctoral program. All future students must apply to both the Graduate School and the Department of Psychology & Counseling by January 15.

January 15th is the deadline for all completed application materials – for summer or fall admission

    • Complete an Online Graduate School Admission application (Graduate School Admissions)
    • Submit official transcripts of all completed college coursework to the Graduate School Office
    • Submit official Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores on the General Section of the Graduate School Office
  1. Apply to the Department of Psychology & Counseling:
    • Submit completed, typed, Counseling Psychology Application for Admission (see Application Form).
    • Twelve semester hours of undergraduate preparation in psychology (any outstanding prerequisite coursework must be completed by the end of the first year in the program).
      • Psychological Statistics
      • Research Methods/Experimental Psychology
      • Theories of Personality
      • Abnormal Psychology
    • Three letters of recommendation from former college professors or individuals otherwise qualified to comment on the applicant’s professional and academic potential. Letters of recommendation should be sent directly to:
      • Counseling Psychology Program Director of Training
      • Department of Psychology and Counseling
      • University of Central Arkansas
      • 201 Donaghey Avenue
      • Conway, AR 72035-0001
    • Essay: Statement of Career Path and Aspirations – a 500-word essay focusing on your career aspirations as a counseling psychologist and research interests. This may include: a) significant people or events that have led you to pursue a career in psychology, b) strengthens and limitations and c) impact you would like to make (for others, the field, etc).
    • Current resume or vita.
    • Before the application can be processed, the applicant must submit a background check at the following link:
      • Background check

    It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all materials are received by the admissions deadline.

    Transfer of Graduate Credit

    For students who have completed some graduate work at other universities, the Counseling Psychology Program may allow the transfer of some graduate credit applicable to the student’s doctoral work at UCA. Requests to transfer graduate-level coursework will only be accepted after the student has been accepted into the program. Requests for transfer of credit must be made in writing by the student and his/her faculty advisor to the Counseling Psychology Director of Training. The Counseling Psychology Committee and Department Chair will consider inquiries regarding the transfer of credit on an individual basis, and only those courses that essentially duplicate a UCA course will be considered for transfer. All course transfers must be approved by the Counseling Psychology Committee and the Department Chair.

Goals and Objectives of the Program

1. Graduates will develop a professional identity as counseling psychologists. Objectives:

  • Students will exhibit a professional identity as counseling psychologists.
  • Students will appreciate the value of active involvement in professional organizations of counseling psychology.

2. Graduates will function as scientist-practitioners in the field of counseling psychology.


  • Students will demonstrate and utilize a wide range of professional and research knowledge in the discipline of counseling psychology, as scientist-practitioners.
  • Students will be proficient in basic and advanced skills in the practice of counseling (especially counseling/psychotherapy and assessment).

3. Graduates will practice as counseling psychologists in a professional, ethical, and socially responsible manner.


  • Students will demonstrate awareness, knowledge, and skills related to the ethical and legal practice of counseling psychology.
  • Students will apply knowledge, and skills to diversity issues, and the larger socio-cultural contexts that inform the practice of counseling psychology.
  • Students will engage in self-monitoring and self-regulation in order to act in a socially responsible and ethical manner.

4. Graduates will skillfully practice as counseling psychologists in traditional and emerging areas of practice.


  • Students will integrate skills and knowledge in working with an interdisciplinary team in providing services in traditional and emerging areas of practice.
  • Students will conceptualize client issues in the person-environment context and design strength-based interventions appropriate to the setting.

Highlights of the program include:

  • Scientist-practitioner training in evidence-based treatments and conducting applied mental health research
  • APA Accredited
  • Close working relationships with active Counseling Psychology faculty
  • Research Associate positions for competitive applicants
  • Learning environment that encourages scholarship and innovation
  • Funding for conference travel to present research
  • 3-4 new students admitted each year

Diversity and Multiculturalism: Its Importance

The program values cultural and individual diversity, which includes personal and demographic characteristics, as well as including (but not limited to) age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, language, national origin, race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, and social economic status. The program considers these aspects as valuable in recruitment and hiring, in teaching and training, and in providing practicum and internship experiences. At the core of these values lies respect for the person, and we are dedicated to ensuring that the program supports this approach. For more details, follow this link to Institutional Diversity at UCA.

Courses, Practica, and Internships

The program of study is typically five years (120 credit hours). Four years are spent in full-time coursework at UCA, and the fifth year is a full-time professional psychology internship. Graduates will be prepared to provide evidence-based assessment and treatment services and to conduct research in clinical and university settings.

Cost & Fees

Tuition Rates

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